Yoo, Agarwal, Kim, Peterson, Choi and Ogut are among those involved with newsworthy investments this week
From our Women's PE Briefs - week commencing March 22, 2021
Greycroft’s Settle and GFC’s Zayani help turn Pacaso into the fastest-ever U.S. unicorn
Greycroft’s Dana Settle and Global Founders Capital’s Sarra Zayani help turn a company founded just five months ago into the fastest-ever U.S. unicorn in a round that also includes Acrew’s Diversify Capital Fund, which is led by Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and Theresia Gouw. Greycroft and Global Founders Capital led Pacaso’s $75 million growth round, which in addition to Acrew Diversify also included First American Financial, Shea Ventures and Jeff Wilke, the former CEO of Amazon Worldwide Consumer. The company said it achieved unicorn status, meaning its valuation is at least $1 billion. Pacaso also secured $1 billion in debt financing.
Based in San Francisco, Pacaso is democratizing second home ownership. The company has created a marketplace that makes buying, owning and selling a second home easy. Pacaso provides listings, integrated financing, interior design, professional property management and proprietary technology. Additionally, after the purchase, the company manages the home on an ongoing basis and supports a resale process in partnership with a licensed real estate professional.
Pacaso has had more than 500,000 people visit its website since its launch and had 60,000 aspiring buyers engage the company to learn about second home co-ownership. It is currently working with real estate agents in such markets as Napa, Calif.; Palm Springs, Calif.; Malibu, Calif.; Lake Tahoe, Nev.; and Park City, Utah. It will use the capital to expand into additional markets. The company was founded by former Zillow executives Austin Allison and Spencer Rascoff.
In a statement, Dana said “Pacaso's business vitals are nothing short of momentous and we're excited to be part of the journey. As the demand for second home ownership increases, gone are the days of these homes sitting empty for most of the year with little benefit to the owner. Pacaso is creating a new category that will dramatically change how people approach buying and owning a second home.”
Earlier this year, Dana saw both her portfolio company Bumble, the dating app whose founder and CEO is Whitney Wolfe Herd, go public as well as the special purpose acquisition that she is chairing: Powered Brands. Dana, who helped found Greycroft and heads its West Coast office, has backed such other companies as Acorns, ANINE BING, Avaline, Bird, Goop, Happiest Baby, Merit, Prima, Scopely, Seed, Thrive Market, Versed and The RealReal, which is now publicly traded and is led by Julie Wainwright. Dana is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit and spoke at this year’s Virtual Women’s Alternative Investment Summit. Greycroft announced in October that it closed two new funds totaling $678 million.
Sarra, a partner with GFC, first backed Pacaso last year and is an observer on the company’s board. She joined GFC in 2019 after being a member of Greycroft’s investment team. Sarra is on the board of TalentHack and has also invested in TaxBit, Spectrum Labs and Cann.
Acrew Diversify was created by Theresia and Sukhinder to bring more diverse shareholders to later-stage investments of companies that are IPO bound and, in turn, increase representation of women and people of color leaders in the ownership of such companies. Theresia is a founder of Acrew and previously co-founded Aspect Ventures. Sukhinder is founder and chairman of theBoardlist.
A portfolio company of Andreessen Horowitz’s Yoo agrees to be acquired
Less than a year after backing PatientPing, Andreessen Horowitz’s Julie Yoo sees the care collaboration and e-notifications platform agree to be acquired by a portfolio company of Insight Partners’ Anika Agarwal in a reportedly sizable transaction. Terms of PatientPing’s purchase by Appriss Health – a unit of Appriss, Inc. – were not disclosed, but PE Hub reported the price was around $500 million. PatientPing, according to Crunchbase, raised $101 million. Last year, Andreessen Horowitz, led by Julie, co-led PatientPing’s $60 million Series C round, which also included F-Prime Capital, GV and Transformation Capital.
Utilizing admission, discharge and transfer data, PatientPing connects thousands of health care providers and health plans across the continuum of care. Louisville, Ky.-based Appriss Health develops cloud-based care coordination software and analytics solutions focused on behavioral health and substance use disorders. The acquisition is aimed at enabling those in the health care ecosystem to utilize software and analytics solutions to facilitate better care for patients. The combined Appriss Health and PatientPing platform will serve 2,500 hospitals, 7,500 post-acute facilities, 25,000 pharmacies including every national pharmacy chain and 43 state governments.
Insight originally invested in Appriss in 2015 and Clearlake Capital Group came on as an investor in 2019. Anika is a managing director with Insight. In addition to Appriss, she is on the boards of or oversees the firm’s investments in iLobby, Bullhorn, CommerceHub, Community Brands, Enverus, Episerver, EveryAction, PDI and Inhabit IQ.
Julie earlier this year backed Bold, a digital health and wellness service co-founded by Amanda Rees. Her investments also include Ribbon Health, a health care data platform. Julie, a general partner, is part of the investment team for Andreessen Horowitz’s $750 million biotech fund. She joined the firm in 2019 after previously co-founding and serving as chief product offering of Kyruus, a venture-backed developer of a scheduling platform for hospital systems.
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice’s Kim and Peterson join the board of M2Gen
Clayton, Dubilier & Rice’s Sarah Kim and Sandra Peterson join the board of M2Gen after CD&R invests in the oncology data and informatics company. CD&R, Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and McKesson Ventures recapitalized the Tampa, Fla. company. A group of existing investors will retain a significant minority interest. Those investors include Moffitt Cancer Center, Hearst Healthcare and The Ohio State University Foundation. Financial terms were not disclosed.
M2Gen runs one the world’s largest observational research studies in cancer, which tracks patients throughout their lifetime, links longitudinal clinical data with molecular information and enables a deeper understanding of a patient’s disease. M2Gen has established one of the largest and most comprehensive linked clinical and genomic databases in the country, empowering innovative, collaborative cancer research and supporting the development of novel oncology drugs by its biopharmaceutical partners. The data platform includes more than 300,000 patients from a network of 18 cancer centers in 10 states.
In a statement, Sarah said that M2Gen is “purpose-driven and patient-centric, and we believe it will impact health care for the next generation by connecting patients, providers, researchers, and pharma R&D to fundamentally change the way cancer is studied and treated.”
Sarah is also on the board of Huntsworth, which CD&R acquired in 2020. The company is a provider of specialty services to pharmaceutical and biotech companies. Sarah, a partner, has spoken at the Women’s Private Equity Summit and the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.
Sandra has become M2Gen’s executive chair. An operating partner with CD&R, Sandra is the former group worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson and a board member of Microsoft. She is also on the boards of two venture-backed life science companies: Volastra Therapeutics, Inc. and Zymergen, Inc. CD&R is not an investor in either of those companies.
Choi leads Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures into Deep Branch’s 8M euros Series A round
Cindi Choi brings Total Energy SA’s venture arm into a carbon dioxide recycling company. Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures took part in Deep Branch’s 8 million euros Series A round, which also included Novo Holdings, DSM Venturing and Barclays Sustainable Impact Capital.
Based in Nottingham, England, Deep Branch is seeking to address both the sustainability of animal farming and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions with their CO2-to-protein technology. The company has created an ingredient that is not just a more environmentally friendly feed ingredient, but will also provide a regular supply of a price-stable, price-competitive, and nutritionally optimal bulk protein. Deep Branch will use the capital to complete its scale-up-hub producing the first pilot-scale batches of the product, known as Proton.
Cindi, who first met the Deep Brach team two years ago, said in a statement that the company “is now putting the building blocks in place needed to accelerate the scaling of production and we're thrilled to help fuel their momentum. Their innovation could be instrumental to decarbonize the agri-food industry, which accounts today for close to a fourth of global greenhouse gases emissions annually."
Cindi, a managing director, joined Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures in 2017 from SunPower Corp. where she was senor director, global strategy and business development. Cindi holds board observer roles at Tado, Octillion, Sunfire and Heetch.
Total Carbon Neutrality Ventures is a 400 million euros fund that is focused on finding, funding and fostering high-potential start-ups globally in renewable energy, mobility, smart-grid, battery storage, energy data intelligence, energy efficiency, software analytics, and enabling technologies.
Prime Impact Fund’s Duffuor and At One Ventures’ Menoud back Noon Energy
Amy Duffuor, a principal at Prime Impact Fund, and Laurie Menoud, a partner at At One Ventures, charge up a developer of a revolutionary ultra-low-cost battery technology for long-duration energy storage. Prime Impact Fund led Noon Energy, Inc.’s $3 million seed round, which in addition to At One Ventures included Collaborative Fund and Xplorer Capital.
Based in Palo Alto, Calif., Noon has developed a battery, enabled by earth-abundant materials and simple reaction chemistry, that will provide long-duration storage at a 10 times lower storage cost than lithium-ion batteries. The company’s battery stores energy in the low-cost elements of carbon and oxygen. In contrast, today’s widely used batteries use expensive metals like lithium, cobalt and vanadium.
In a statement, Amy said that Noon “offers a fundamentally novel battery technology with an extraordinary low-cost entitlement. The technology could be substantially lower-cost than lithium-ion batteries at long durations, enabling intermittent renewables to be 100 percent on-demand power.”
In conjunction with the financing, Amy joined Noon’s board. Prime, which was co-founded by Johanna Wolfson, last year closed its debut fund at $50 million to back breakthrough climate technologies.
Laurie, also in a statement, said that At One has been “looking for a sustainable battery solution with disruptive unit economics for a while and believe we have finally found it with Noon. By storing energy in the most earth-abundant elements, Noon not only reduces the cost of energy storage drastically, but also our reliance on mined metals like lithium and cobalt posing major social and environmental problems today.”
Ananth leads Accel into Digbi Health’s $5.4M Series A round
Accel’s Radhika Ananth backs a company that has developed a genetics and gut-microbiome based digital care program for managing obesity and associated inflammatory digestive skin and cardiometabolic illnesses. Accel led Digbi Health’s $5.4 million Series A round, which also included Wisdom, LLP and returning investors Ocean Azul Partners and Seraph Venture.
Based in Mountain View, Calif., Digbi has to date worked with more than 1,000 individuals who access the program through their insurance payer. Of those, 70 percent experienced reduced symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome and chronic pain, 60 percent demonstrated improvement in inflammatory skin conditions and 70 percent of those who were overweight and obese lost weight. Digbi is currently working with West Virginia University Medicine and UC Irvine Medical School. It is also pursuing a FDA approval pathway for software as a medical device targeting functional bowel disorder.
In a statement, Radhika said Digbi Health's “mission-driven culture and outcome-driven approach are spurring positive behavior change in the community and enabling the community members to lead a healthy and disease-free life. We believe the Digbi team is capable of creating and driving digital innovations to support carriers, self-insured employers, and healthcare systems to sustain the rapidly growing healthcare needs.”
Radhika, a vice president, joined Accel in 2017 after working at BCG and Frost & Sullivan. Her portfolio includes Turbine, an AI-driven drug discovery company.
Kong and McLarney take part in Blue Point’s acquisition of Weaver Leather
Senior associate Laurie Kong and associate Kate McLarney take part in Blue Point Capital Partners’ acquisition of a company a short drive from the firm’s Cleveland office. Terms of Blue Point’s investment in Weaver Leather were not disclosed. It is the private equity firm’s ninth platform investment out of its $700 million fourth fund, which closed in 2018.
Based in Mt. Hope, Ohio, Weaver Leather manufactures, markets and distributes branded and non-branded leather, nylon/synthetic, hardware and other products and accessories to the equine, pet, leather crafting, arborist, livestock and construction markets. Blue Point will work with Weaver’s management to execute a growth strategy centered on continued product line innovation and expansion, further development of digital marketing capabilities and pursuit of acquisitions.
Laurie, who is in the firm’s Shanghai office, joined Blue Point in 2017 after being a strategic consulting manager at Accenture and IBM. Kate has been with Blue Point since last year. She was previously an associate at Houlihan Lokey and an investment banking analyst at Société Générale.
Blue Point manages more than $1.5 billion capital and in addition to Cleveland also has offices in Seattle, Shanghai and Charlotte, N.C.
Motley Fool’s Harjes and Prosus Ventures’ Fathieh back Republic
Motley Fool Ventures’ Kristine Harjes and Prosus Ventures’ Banafsheh (“B”) Fathieh back a company out to democratize access to investing for everyone. Motley Fool Ventures took part in the initial closing of Republic’s $36 million Series A round, which also included Galaxy Interactive, Tribe Capital and Broadhaven Ventures. Prosus Ventures, which used to be known as Naspers Ventures, made a strategic investment in Republic through a purchase of Republic Notes, a novel digital security. It marks Prosus’ first-ever crypto digital asset investment. New York-based Republic now has raised more than $70 million since its founding in 2016.
Republic was founded on the principle that sought-after investment opportunities should not be limited to small, closed networks of investors, and that people should be able to invest in the future they believe in. On the Republic platform, anyone can invest across startups, real estate, crypto, gaming, and small businesses. Republic has more than 1 million members, who to date have invested more than $300 million in offerings under Regulation Crowdfunding, or Reg CF, Reg A and Reg D. Republic provides curated deals for investors of all experience levels and interests, while empowering founders with access to a diverse and engaged investor base. Earlier this month, the SEC raised the cap for how much can be raised through Reg CF from $1.07 million to $5 million per annual period, enabling founders to raise up to 5 times more capital through crowdfunding.
In a statement, Kristine said that “The Motley Fool has long championed the individual investor, and we feel deeply aligned with Republic’s mission to increase access to once-exclusive private investment opportunities.” Kristine is an investment officer with Motley Fool Ventures.
Also in a statement, Banafsheh said that Republic “has created a platform that has the potential to break down the systemic barriers that exist in the funding process. Republic’s continued growth will enable more entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups to raise funds beyond the usual gatekeepers, and investors will be able to help businesses they are passionate about when they need it most.”
In conjunction with the financing, Banafsheh became an observer on Republic’s board. Banafsheh is head of Americas investments at Prosus. She is also on the boards of Klar, Shipper, Immutable, DappRadar and an observer on the board of Honor. Banafshe joined the firm in 2017 after being a vice president, investments at OCV Partners.
Deshpande guides Maven Ventures into Pledge’s $3M seed round
Sara Deshpande, a partner with Maven Ventures, guides the firm into a fundraising platform in a seed round that also includes angel investor Randi Zuckerberg. Maven led Pledge’s $3 million seed round, which in addition to Randi included Designer Fund, Mantis VC and MS&AD Ventures. Pledge has now raised a total of $12 million.
Pledge’s platform transforms virtual meetings and events into a fundraiser, enabling customers, brands and nonprofits to raise money for any cause in minutes. It will put its capital to use to launch PledgeCam, a virtual camera application aimed at bringing interactive fundraising to all virtual events. PledgeCam, according to the company, drives three times the donations and 50 percent more audience engagement than virtual events without it. It is the first virtual event fundraising app that seamlessly integrates with every streaming and virtual event platform, including Facebook Live, Google Meet, Twitch, YouTube and Zoom. In 2020, Pledge powered more than 150,000 virtual events.
In a statement, Sara said, “throughout the pandemic, we've seen a groundswell of consumers and businesses dedicating themselves to conscious causes, including a massive rise of Zoom fundraisers. We believe that billion dollar companies will be built on Zoom, and the Pledge team is incredibly strong and mission-aligned. When Pledge was selected as the embedded finance partner powering donations on Zoom, it made backing this company and team a no-brainer.”
Sara’s portfolio includes May Mobility, which was co-founded by Alisyn Malek; Eden, which was co-founded by Susie Sun; Embark; Hello Heart; Neighborly; Marble; Gametime; Pilotworks; and Chariot, which was acquired by Ford. Sara joined Maven in 2014 – a year after Jim Scheinman founded the firm.
Maven is investing from its $65 million third fund which is raised in 2019.
Fletcher maneuvers Prime Movers Lab into FORT Robotics’ $13M round
Prime Movers Lab’s Suzanne Fletcher maneuvers her firm into a company creating safety-and-security solutions for autonomous machines. Prime Movers led FORT Robotics’ $13 million round, which also included Prologis Ventures, Quiet Capital, Lemnos Labs, Creative Ventures, Ahoy Capital, Compound, FundersClub and Mark Cuban.
The Philadelphia company will use the capital to double the size of its workforce and expand its product offerings in key markets. In 2020, it served more than 100 clients, including dozens of Fortune 1,000 companies. In a statement, Suzanne said FORT “is creating systems that will accelerate the rise of autonomous vehicles and robotics, making work safer and more productive. We're proud to partner with this forward-looking company that recognizes that safe collaboration between humans and robots is synonymous with the workforce of tomorrow."
Suzanne’s investments also include Elevian, Inc., which is seeking to treat and prevent multi-age related diseases. Suzanne, a general partner, joined Prime Moves in 2019 after leaving her role overseeing the Stanford-StartX Fund.
Focused on backing breakthrough scientific startups, Prime Movers closed its second fund earlier this year at $425 million.
Kranjac is involved in Dynamk Capital’s investment in Curi Bio
Dynamk Capital, LLC’s Daniella Kranjac is involved in her firm’s investment in a developer of human stem cell-based platforms for drug discovery. Dynamk led Curi Bio, Inc.’s $6 million Series A round that is expected to close with additional investors by the end of the second quarter.
Based in Seattle, Curi Bio is focused on accelerating the development of new therapeutics by integrating human stem cells, tissue specific systems and artificial intelligence/machine learning-enabled insights into phenotypic data. Curi Bio’s bioengineered approach to improving preclinical results includes applications in the cardiac, skeletal muscle and neuromuscular fields.
Daniella leads the Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based firm with her brother, Mario Kranjac. Dynamk Capital emerged from Dynamk Consulting, LLC, which Daniella founded to provide insights to life sciences and biopharma businesses.
Dynamk Capital’s investments include Lucid Scientific, a biotech tools company; CellFE, whose co-founder and CEO is Alla Zamarayeva and which is developing a microfluidics-based device to deliver gene-editing molecules; RoosterBio, Inc., which is led by Margot Connor and is simplifying and standardizing how stem cells are purchased, expanded and used in development; Envisagenics, Inc., a drug discovery company whose co-founder and CEO is Maria Luisa Pineda; and FloDesign Sonics, which helps immunotherapy, cell and gene therapy providers address key challenges in scaling therapies.
Thomassin and CDPQ see the potential in taking New Look Vision Group private
Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, whose head of investments is executive vice president Kim Thomassin, sees the potential in taking a publicly traded eye care products and services company private. CDPQ is joining with FFL Partners, LLC and the Dr. H. Doug Barnes Family to acquire New Look Vision Group, Inc. for 800 million Canadian. The buyers will pay 50 Canadian a share for Montreal-based New Look, which has been trading at 39 Canadian a share on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
New Look Vision Group currently has 406 locations operating under the New Look Eyewear, Vogue Optical, Greiche & Scaff, Iris and Edward Beiner banners. In a statement, Kim said that CDPQ is “proud to support New Look Vision – a Quebec leader in the provision of eye care products and services – and bring our constructive capital approach towards helping the business continue to expand both domestically and internationally, guided by its strong entrepreneurial culture.”
Kim, who joined CDPQ in 2017, was promoted to her current role last year. Also this year, she oversaw the pension fund’s investments in CAE, a publicly traded provider of training and operational support in the civil aviation, defense and security and health care sectors; LCI Education, a network of higher education institutions in Quebec; and Barrette Outdoor Living, Inc., a manufacturer of wood-alternative fence and railing products. Kim will also oversee a recently announced investment fund that CDPQ will use to increase diversity and inclusion at companies in Quebec and Canada.
One of the largest pension funds in Canada, CDPQ held 365.5 billion Canadian in net assets as of Dec. 31.
Ramachandran leads Flourish Ventures into M2P Solutions-YAP’s $10M Series B round
Anuradha Ramachandran, an investments director with Flourish Ventures, logs into an application programming interface provider for banks, startups and consumer Internet companies. Flourish Ventures and Omidyar Network India led M2P Solutions-YAP’s $10 million Series B round that also included existing investors BEENEXT, 8i Ventures and Better Capital.
Based in Chennai, India, M2P currently operates in India, Nepal, the United Arab Emirates, Australia, Zealand and the Philippines. It will use the capital to expand to Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Vietnam and Indonesia. M2P marks Flourish Ventures’ first investment in an embedded finance company.
In a statement, Anuradha said, “the YAP platform provides the rails on which fintechs and incumbents can build new cases for the underserved segment, while delivering financial services in a cost-effective way.”
Anuradha has also backed such companies as Yelo, Affordplan, Indifi, IntelleGrow, Kaleidofin, Scripbox, MyShubhLife, Toffee and Zest. Anuradha previously was at Omidyar Network, which Flourish spun out of in 2019.
Singh-Landa guides Praetura Ventures into Enthuse’s 3.5M pounds Series A round
Sim Singh-Landa, an investment director with Praetura Ventures, lends support to a donations, fundraising and events platform. Praetura led Enthuse’s 3.5 million pounds Series A round that also included unnamed existing investors.
More than 4,000 charities have used Enthuse’s tools to raise more than 100 million pounds. The company’s offerings included branded payment and communication solutions, virtual fundraising tools, data management and event registration software, as well as a corporate platform for employee engagement. Enthuse said the investment will allow it to develop and extend its product offerings and double the size of its team from 50 to 100.
In a statement, Sim said that Praetura has “been really impressed with the ambition and expertise of the management team at Enthuse,” which has a “clear strategy and growth plan, and a real focus on helping charities better connect with their supporters.”
In conjunction with the financing, Sim joined Enthuse’s board. She joined Praetura in the fall of 2019 from Aston Ventures.
Shiers helps BGF ride into Source BMX
BGF’s Bethany Shiers helps the firm ride into a seller of BMX bikes, parts and accessories. BGF invested 5.7 million pounds into Source BMX. The capital will be used to fund the company’s e-commerce offering and fast-track international expansion plans.
Source BMX was founded in 2003 and now exports to 93 countries. The company has recorded an average annual growth of more than 46 percent over the past three years and is expecting greater expansion with Freestyle BMX a part of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. BGF said Bethany did the deal with colleagues Jonathan Simon, Chris Morgan and Grant Paul-Florence.
Bethany joined BGF as an investor last May from IL Management Consultants. She is an observer on the boards of Furniture Village and Genflow.
Ogut guides Partners Group into Unit4
Partners Group’s Bilge Ogut guides her firm into a developer of enterprise cloud software for people-centric organizations. Partners Group is investing along TA Associates in the purchase of a majority stake in Unit4 from Advent International. Terms were not disclosed.
Based in London, Unit4 has created software that supports companies seeking to deliver an exceptional people experience to customers. In a statement, Bilge called Unit4 “a high-quality software solutions business with strong fundamentals and significant potential for transformative growth.”
Bilge is head of Partners’ private equity technology business unit and serves on the boards of firm portfolio companies Civica, CPA Global and Vermaat.
Partners sold a majority stake in Vermaat to Bridgepoint in 2019. A global private markets investment manager, Partners has invested more than $145 billion since 1996.
Kadaba joins the board of EyeYon after Quark invests in the eye care startup
Neena Kadaba, Quark Venture’s director of science, joins the board of EyeYon Medical after Quark – which is led by Karimah Es Sabar – invests in the eye care startup – a portfolio company of Triventures’ Michal Geva and Rimonci Capital’s Richel Liu. Global Health Sciences Fund, which Quark formed with GF Securities, took part in EyeYon’s $25 million Series C round that also included CR-CP Life Science Fund, BPC and such existing investors as Triventures, Rimonci, Pontifax and Diamond BioFund.
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, EyeYon has developed the world’s first synthetic cornea implant, which is currently in clinical trials. If deemed successful, doctors would be able to treat chronic corneal edema in a minimally invasive procedure without the use of human tissue or corneal donations. Currently there are some 13 million patients on the waiting list for a corneal transplant. In a statement, Karimah said that EyeYon’s technology “has the potential to reverse vision loss and improve the quality of life for millions of patients worldwide.”
Neena is also on the board of Eyevensys. Quark, through the Global Health Sciences Fund, also in 2021 has invested in Variantyx, a high complexity hereditary disease testing company, and CalciMedica, Inc., whose CEO is Rachel Leheny and which is developing treatments for severe acute and chronic inflammatory diseases. Zafrira Avnur, who is Quark’s chief scientific officer, joined the boards of both companies.
La Famiglia leads y42’s $2.9M seed round
La Famiglia VC, a German venture firm led by Jeannette zu Fürstenberg and Judith Dada, seeds a no-code business intelligence platform for loading, cleaning, connecting, visualizing and sharing data. La Famiglia led y42’s $2.9 million seed round that also included several angel investors.
Based in Berlin, y42 is seeking to make it easier for non-engineers to utilize data warehousing. In a statement, Judith said that when her firm saw the product demo, “it struck us how on top of analytical excellence, a lot of product development has gone into the y42 platform. More and more work with data today means that data silos within organizations multiply, resulting in chaos or incorrect data. y42 is a powerful single source of truth for data experts and non-data experts alike.”
La Famiglia’s investments include Deel, a payroll and compliance platform for international teams co-founded by Shuo Wang.
Greenbriar Equity Group is selling one of Raker’s portfolio companies
Greenbriar Equity Group is selling a portfolio company of managing partner Jill Raker. Greenbriar is selling Nordco to publicly traded Wabtec Corp. for $400 million.
Nordco supplies new, rebuilt and used maintenance of way equipment. Its products and services enable rail-related industries to build, improve, maintain and inspect their track infrastructure and reposition rolling stock. The Oak Creek, Wis. company’s portfolio includes mobile railcar movers and ultrasonic rail flaw detection technologies. Nordco is expected to have 2021 sales of $175 million and EBITDA of about $40 million.
Nordco will become part of Wabtec’s Freight Services group. Wabtec provides equipment, systems, digital solutions and value-added services for freight and transit rail. Greenbriar originally invested in the company in 2013.
Earlier this year, Greenbriar sold a stake in another of Jill’s companies, SEKO Logistics, to Ridgemont Equity Partners. Greenbriar still has a significant equity stake in the Rye, N.Y. third-party logistics provider.
In 2020, Jill led Greenbriar’s $500 million financing in Uber Freight, Uber Technologies, Inc.’s logistics arm. Jill is also involved with firm portfolio companies BDP International and LaserShip. Another company that she worked with, Lazer Spot, Inc., was sold in 2019 to Harvest Partners. Jill, who joined Greenbriar in 2001, is a past speaker at the Women’s Alternative Investment Summit.
Greenbriar, which was founded in 1999, has managed more than $6 billion of committed capital across five investment funds. The firm focuses on investments in business services and advanced manufacturing.
A portfolio company of Scottish Equity Partners’ Rutherford is set to be acquired
A company that Scottish Equity Partners’ Jan Rutherford led the firm into is set to be acquired for reportedly close to $700 million. Dotmatics, Ltd., a scientific informatics software provider, is being purchased by Insightful Science. A portfolio company of Insight Partners, Insightful Science provides software to the life sciences community. Terms were not disclosed, but Bloomberg reported that the deal was worth $690 million.
SEP, in announcing the purchase, said the acquisition provides “an excellent return” and that it will be rolling over a part of its stake into the combined business. The firm was the largest shareholder in Dotmatics. Jan, a partner with SEP, guided the firm into the Bishop’s Stortford, UK company in the fall of 2017. The amount invested by SEP was not disclosed but was described at the time as “significant.”
Dotmatics delivers enterprise solutions tailored to the modern, highly collaborative and mobile scientific environments. Industries served by its products include pharmaceutical, biotechnology, academia, food and beverage and oil and gas. It has 300 employees. With the acquisition, Insightful Science will incorporate Dotmatics’ small molecule and enterprise cloud platform with its large molecule and analytics platform.
Jan has been with SEP since 2004. She leads the firm’s health care investment activities as well as its investor relations activities. Ten years ago, another of her portfolio companies, BioVex, was acquired by Amgen in a $1 billion transaction.
SEP has offices in London and Edinburgh, Scotland and Glasgow, Scotland and is currently investing its fifth venture fund, which closed at 260 million pounds.
Chou O’Keefe leads Define Ventures into DexCare’s $20M round
Define Ventures’ Lynne Chou O’Keefe logs into a newly formed digital health company. Define led DexCare, Inc.’s $20 million round, which also included Frist Cressey Ventures, Kaiser Permanente Ventures, SpringRock Ventures and Providence Ventures.
Based in Seattle, DexCare has developed an intelligent digital care operating system that manages health system capacity and demand across all lines of care. It has secured half a dozen customers, including the Community Health Network, the Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, Houston Methodist, and Providence. In conjunction with the funding, DexCare has been spun out as a separate company after being incubated at Providence – one of the country’s largest health systems – within its Digital Innovation Group.
In a statement, Lynne said that “DexCare's unique solution to make digitally-enabled care more discoverable and actionable for consumers, while at the same time making it effective for health systems, is the kind of solution that will lead to a better healthcare system for everyone.” In conjunction with the financing, Lynne joined DexCare’s board.
Lynne founded and is managing partner of Define. Earlier this year, one of Lynne’s portfolio companies, Hims & Hers, went public through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Also earlier this year, Define announced that its second fund had closed at $200 million. Lynne is a past speaker at the Women’s Private Equity Summit and spoke at the Virtual Women’s Alternative Investment Summit event this past January.
Chopra guides Sequoia Capital India into Purplle’s $45M round
Sakshi Chopra, a principal with Sequoia Capital India, applies capital to an Indian e-commerce platform for beauty products. Sequoia led Purplle’s $45 million round, which also included existing investors Verlinvest, Blume Ventures and JSW Ventures, according to TechCrunch.
Purplle has 7 million monthly active users and sells nearly 50,000 products from more than 1,000 brands. Sakshi was quoted as saying that Sequoia believes that Purplle has “cracked the beauty playbook of value retailing with three key tenets – a business built on high retention and low customer acquisition cost, a wide assortment of brands offering quality at best prices, and an attractive private label portfolio mix. We see Purplle emerging as a dominant beauty destination as the online beauty penetration grows from 10 percent to 25 percent over the next decade.”
Sakshi’s portfolio includes B9 Beverages, Faces, Go Colors, HealthKart, Hector Beverages, Indigo Paints, Innovcare Lifesciences, RAW Pressery, Wakefit and Wildcraft.
Chen’s Cormorant takes part in EpimAb Biotherapeutics’ $120M Series C round
Cormorant Asset Management, which is led by Bihua Chen, takes part in backing a Chinese clinical stage biotech company specializing in bispecific antibody development. Cormorant took part EpimAb Biotherapeutics, Inc.’s $120 million Series C financing round that also included China Merchants Bank International, Mirae Asset Financial Group, Hony Capital, Yanchuang Capital, ShangBay Capital, Octagon Capital and existing investors Decheng Capital, SDIC Fund, Sherpa Healthcare Partners and Hidragon Capital.
Based in Shanghai, EpimAb is creating a pipeline of novel proprietary bispecific antibody therapeutics with a focus on oncology and other areas of high value to patients. The company will use the capital to fund ongoing clinical development of three of its therapeutics and expand its pipeline of novel bispecific antibodies and other biologics. The company’s board includes Yajun Xu, president of ShangPharma Investment.
Cormorant’s investments in 2021 include Graphite Bio, a next-generation gene editing company whose scientific co-founders include Dr. Maria Grazia Roncarolo; Neurelis, Inc., which has launched an epilepsy treatment; Ventyx Biosciences, Inc., which is advancing a pipeline of immune modulators to treat inflammatory diseases and autoimmune disorders; AgomAb Therapeutics, which is developing drug candidates to modulate regenerative pathways to induce functional organ recovery in acute and chronic diseases; BlossomHill Therapeutics, Inc., an oncology company founded by Jingrong Jean Cui; FogPharma, a precision medicine company co-founded by WeiQing Zhou; DTx Pharma, Inc., which is creating RNA-based therapeutics to treat the genetic drivers of disease; Artiva Biotherapeutics, Inc., an oncology company; Ensoma, which is developing an in vivo approach to delivering off-the-shelf genomic medicines; Verve Therapeutics, which is developing gene editing therapies to permanently reduce risk of coronary artery disease in adults; Affinivax, Inc., which is developing vaccines utilizing its Multiple Antigen Presenting System platform; Biomea Fusion, Inc., a precision oncology company; and Immuneering Corp., which seeking to create better medicines through insights from bioinformatics.
Cormorant also has at least three companies in registration to go public, Design Therapeutics, VectivBio Holding and Edgewise Therapeutics, and has had at least two companies this year go public: Pharvaris, which Anne Lesage co-founded, and Prometheus Biosciences, Inc., which just went public.